President Trump issued two executive orders late Thursday against China-based TikTok and messaging app WeChat, citing national security concerns in a sweeping order that could prevent the companies from doing the most business in the United States.
The orders take effect in 45 days and prohibit any U.S. company or person from transacting with ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, or WeChat. While the nature of the banned transactions are not specific, it may mean the companies would not be able to appear on Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store in the United States. It also could make it illegal for U.S. companies to purchase advertising on TikTok.
The order comes amid insecurity allegations against the popular video making app. TikTok is accused of gathering data and sharing it with the Chinese government.
Thursday’s order alleges that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users,” such as location data and browsing and search histories, which “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
Trump and other officials have expressed concern that data collected by TikTok could be shared with the Chinese government. TikTok has continually denied that and says it stores U.S. customer information in the United States. But Trump has continued targeting the company over the past week by threatening to ban it and finally seemingly agreeing to let Microsoft buy it, if a deal closes quickly.